Exhibition dates: 8 July–27 August 2016
Exhibition opening: Friday 8 July, 6–8pm

Artists: Justin Balmain (Sydney); Petra Cortright (Los Angeles); Simon Denny (Berlin); Heath Franco (Sydney);
Gavin Bell, Jarrah de Kuijer and Simon McGlinn (Greatest Hits / Melbourne); Ying Miao (Beijing); Michael Staniak (Melbourne); Amalia Ulman (Los Angeles / London / Gijón).


The Octopus series is one of Gertrude Contemporary’s flagship annual exhibitions, initiated in 2001. The 16th edition, titled Antiques Roadshow, assembled a selection of Australian and international artists whose works focus upon the phenomena, the integration, and the ramifications of developing technologies, ranging from their use as a pervasive tool for surveillance, their potential in creating and expanding social networks, as well as noting a nostalgia for recent obsolescent technologies.

This exhibition adopted its title from the long-running BBC television series of the same name as a means to consider how value and historical importance might be considered within the present moment, but also references the popular term used within the 1990s to refer to early digital communications, the Information Superhighway.

Rather than operating as a critique of the advancing digitisation of our lives, this project looks at strategies being adopted by a selection of artists as to how these advances might be co-opted and integrated within their creative practices. The assembled works do not approach the internet as a new phenomenon, a new media, or indeed as something necessarily distinct from real life.

The selection of artists draws from a generation who have grown up with these technologies, and are increasingly dependent upon them. Rather than rendering itself instantly redundant, Antiques Roadshow acknowledged and anticipated its own obsolescence, being of and in this time, in full acknowledgement of the acceleration of change. It incorporates nostalgia with a sense of certainty as well as elements of humour, rather than longing to capture this moment as it passes and is superseded. What more can contemporary art do but to understand the continuum of something more contemporary to come after it?

The Octopus exhibition series is generously supported by Proclaim. 

The exhibition opening was generously supported by Temple Brewing.

Octopus 16: Antiques Roadshow was open until 8pm on Friday 15 July and Friday 22 July during the Gertrude Street Projection Festival, which ran from 15 July–24 July.

Full media release avaiable here.